9 1/2 Questions: Mark Turner (The Imaging Cloud)

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Web Mark Turner is too cool for school (in a good way) as you will see below in this edition of 9.5 Q’s. I VERY much enjoyed learning about Mark and his latest endeavor, The Imaging Cloud. First, a little background and a few links.  Mark is the guy who launched and runs Wrong Planet music.  First brought to my podcast by Matt Fisher, they are a full service Music Production and distribution company in the UK servicing most genres of music to stations and media outlets all over the globe.  Sample their stuff if you can.  Its very good. BTW – Fish Food, mentioned below, is what Matt Fisher designed.  I think it was Wrong Planet’s first foray into the sound design side of things.

Now that brings us to a brand new imaging service called The Imaging Cloud. I saw it was Mark’s Project. I grabbed a free sample account. Mind Blown. Email Sent.  His valuable time acquired.

I waste no more time as we dive into the interview and in case you were not already aware…you have a chance at some FREE sounds…but this is  limited and since my blog is so damn popular you better act fast!  If you miss the freeness, then I do highly recommend starting yourself out with an account at any level and like heroin, once you get a little, you are gonna want a lot more. Enjoy!

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Mark Turner!  Been admiring your work (and your colleagues’) for a while on Wrong Planet.  Really fantastic music production.  BUT before we dive into The Imaging Cloud, tell us a bit about your background.  Are you a radio guy?  a Music guy? a champion Squash player?

This is going to sound weird, but I actually began working age 19 in Canary Wharf, London’s equivalent of Wall Street. I was working for a US investment bank, something I didn’t enjoy, but the money was good and it paid for my recording studio. I guess I was always a ‘music guy’, making music was all I really cared about, I’d grown up listening to bands like 808 State and all the early XL Recordings stuff including The Prodigy. Liam Howlett had become a bit of a god to me and was my main inspiration into music production. I would spend every hour I could making music, having a couple of hours sleep and then getting the train to work at 5.30am! It wasn’t until I was reunited with an old school friend in 2004, who was working for Xfm in London that things really progressed. He asked me to make them a load of talk-over beds for the show he was producing, which then gave me a platform to get my music heard. It was really from this moment that the idea of creating Wrong Planet started, and I finally had my exit planned from the dirty world of finance!

Get a little more into your technical aptitude now.  Have you been on Pro tools since the beginning?  Other DAW’s?  Mac or PC?

There are so many great editors out there but once you get your head around one you can generally apply it to all of them. I’ve been a big Pro Tools fan for years, but started making music a long time ago using an Atari ST with the original Cubase. As technology advanced I moved onto different platforms including Logic and Pro Tools, but it was whilst working with French producer Alan Braxe that he got me hooked on Ableton Live. I found it so quick to work with and it gave me a totally fresh creative approach to music production and sound design.

Software:  What are some tools you can’t live with out?  What is your “dessert island” plug-in?

My favourite plug-in has to be iZotope Ozone 5, for final processing and mastering it’s just awesome. For sound design you’ve got to love Reaktor, that thing is a beast for creating mental sounds! For generating some unexpected noises, Sugar Bytes Effectrix is also really fun.

Hardware:  Same basic scenario as above

At one time I was very much an outboard person, racks of processors, synths etc, but it became overly complex and for me took away from the creativity instead of adding to it. So I switched to a much simpler setup consisting of a Mac Pro, Apogee Ensemble, Genelec 8050s (which I adore), a 30” Apple Cinema Display which is perfect if you’re working in a really big session, a Korg Kaossilator Pro and a TL Audio Fatman 2 mic preamp. I’m also eyeing up Ableton Push for Live 9, it looks like a really creative piece of kit.

Imaging Cloud Press Pic 1Hopefully people have sampled your work at Wrong Planet which is jam packed with great music and some sound design like Fish Food from past Podcast Guest Matt Fisher.  Who are the primary sound designers and music makers at the Imaging Could?  Why are they awesome?

We have an amazing pool of world class Sony award winning producers (our secret weapons) that are either freelance or based at stations around the globe, meaning they’re plugged into the mainframe of radio life. They know what’s hot and what’s not and ultimately they have the knowledge to know exactly what works, which means they generate content that’s gagging to hit the airwaves!

TIC is a model we see in Europe more than the states – US typically going with a station based barter system OR cash buyout packages (1 time fee for 1 big package). Not ALL but most.  Do you think I am right that this is more favored model outside the States?  If so, why?  Do you have plans to market to the states?

Global radio has been through so many financial squeezes over the past years, meaning barter, buyout and subscription are the way forward. Ultimately we are aiming to create a truly cost effective solution to help producers meet deadlines in an incredibly time pressured environment. Subscription is our key model but ultimately we’re flexible, we want to work with stations around the world, including the US, to help them create amazing radio! But to answer the question, yes it is true that the US is currently driven by barter and buyout, with Europe more open to a subscription based model.

Give us the dirt on the service.  There are levels of membership which people can see on your site.   What do they get ie. types of sounds and how often/how many cuts do you plan to update?  How many cuts are there now?  What would you say sets your service apart?

Other services aim to impress with the number of updates they offer. Others live in the moment like generating content for the Royal Birth. However, there are a few reasons why we’re different. Firstly the content is of outstanding quality throughout. Secondly, we focus on generating beautiful fully customizable imaging for events months before they happen, meaning forward planning to make our clients lives as easy as possible. Finally we are a one stop shop with a completely two way dialogue. We want to know what stations need so we can feed that directly into the Cloud. We’re launching the site with over 10,000 cuts, updates will be on a continuous weekly basis throughout the year, with key event updates coming every month.

Web

TECH/WEB: I LOVE the design and not just the look but the function. Tons of AJAX and very clean previewing and downloading. TONS of categories and great tagging system we learned to love with Wrong Planet.  I notice both WP and TIC are done by Idea Junction.  Any connection to you?  Also, based on my love for your sites functionality, how long did it take you to develop and prepare it?  Generally brag about the amount of effort that went into that end of it.

It took roughly two years from start to finish, including several months of research and planning. We wanted to create something that stood out from the crowd, not just visually, but also with functionality and user friendliness. We learnt a lot from the development of the WP site with Idea Junction and they applied this to TIC. As a company they’re very much for making user interfaces that are as clean and user friendly as possible. Also, web technologies have made significant advancements in the last few years, so they were able to tap into the latest development tools. There are many future updates to come that will add to the overall user experience, but to make the most of the site you should use an up to date browser.

Bonus: Name the greatest Radio Station on Planet Earth…

For me it has to be TalkSport in the UK, they’re pretty incredible. They have a highly creative and perfectly targeted approach to their station sound. Other stations that generate a really slick, innovative sound that really grab my ears are BBC Radio 1 and Kiss 100. Across the pond it’s hard not to love the likes of Z100 New York and Star in Atlanta!

WOW!  On behalf of everyone you just offended give us some free sounds and it will be cool 😉

Well just for you we’re giving away one month’s unrestricted FREE access to The Imaging Cloud, for the first 10 readers to email us the phrase ‘IT’S RAINING IMAGING’ to [email protected]

Killer! Thanks Mark.  Best of luck to you and this monster.

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